Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Landscape Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

Custom landscaping by a landscape contractor.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a landscape contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified landscaper. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated landscaping contractor and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Marin County – Landscape – Contractor CATEGORY

Scott Reilly is a 26-year veteran of the landscaping industry and owner of Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (415) 763-5979 or by email.

Scott Reilly

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Scott Reilly: An Inspired Turn

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — After spending most of his landscaping career maintaining private estates, Scott Reilly took an inspired turn by switching his focus to landscape design. “I started in landscaping as a teenager, when my brother got me a job working on a private estate on Long Island,” he remembers. “After graduating high school, I moved to Washington, D.C. and got a job with a local landscaping company. From there, I worked as a head groundskeeper for a number of private estates along the East Coast. In 1996, I moved to California, where I spent 11 years working on a private estate in Ross. Finally, in 2006, I quit doing estate work and started my own business doing landscape design for residences and businesses.”

Today, as owner of Reilly Designs, Scott reflects on the motivation behind his professional transition. “Basically, I wanted an opportunity to be more creative with my work,” he explains. “When you work on an estate, you have a pretty routine schedule that stays the same year to year. In contrast, working on private residences tends to offer a lot more room for creative expression, which, as a creative person, I find very satisfying.”

Originally from Long Island, New York, Scott now resides in Petaluma, where he appreciates the horticultural versatility that exists in the North Bay. “Because of the Bay Area’s varied microclimates and the wide plant availability, there’s a lot more variety with what you can plant than there is on the East Coast. You can do a tropical garden, a Mediterranean garden, an English garden, a Japanese garden—the possibilities are endless.”

Outside of work, Scott engages in a variety of active and creative hobbies. “I have an art studio where I do ceramic sculptures, many of which I incorporate into my landscape designs,” he says. “I also enjoy cycling and writing poetry—I actually have a poetry book that’s in the process of being published.” In addition to his personal pursuits, Scott enjoys spending time with his four children.

In regard to his professional career, Scott espouses the importance of staying hungry. “Running a business is never easy, and I think when it becomes easy, maybe it’s time to retire,” he says. “Any good business should be continually evolving, and as an owner, you need to keep yourself challenged. It’s the challenges that keep you growing and invested in what you’re doing, which manifests itself in the quality of your work.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Scott says he’d expand his artistic horizons. “I certainly wouldn’t play golf,” he laughs. “Everyone has their passions, and mine are definitely more artistic in nature. I’d spend more time in my studio doing ceramics, and I might also try my hand at a few new things, like glass blowing.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Black Sails.”

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A night owl.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Native American artwork.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: I enjoy a broad range of music, but acoustic blues is probably my favorite.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Garbanzo beans.

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How to Identify a Qualified Landscaping Company

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SAN RAFAEL — When hiring a landscaping company to maintain your property, one trait you should look for is strong industry expertise, particularly in the realm of horticulture. For example, a knowledgeable professional should be able to identify the majority of… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Considerations for Hiring a Landscaping Company

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: When choosing a company to maintain your landscape, there are some important things you should look for. Today we’re in San… Read more

Roger Van Alst is president of Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-4128 or by email.

Roger Van Alst

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Roger Van Alst: Paving a Road to Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — After graduating from Stetson University with a marketing and business degree, Roger Van Alst began a career that would take him around the world and back again. “After a long time managing home improvement companies in both the United States and Australia, I decided it was time to have my own business and acquired Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape in 2004,” he says. “When I was devising my business model, I pulled together the best techniques and ideas I’d encountered from my past experience while disposing of those I didn’t care for. A decade later, Black Diamond has grown from a small mom-and-pop operation to a multimillion-dollar company.”

When asked what drew him to hardscapes over other aspects of home improvement, Roger says it was the unique opportunity to improve people’s lives by enhancing their outdoor environments. “In California, we’re able to use our outdoor living spaces nine months out of the year, so they’re basically an extension of the home. I find that transforming customers’ outdoor environments often enriches their lifestyles, so the impact of our work really goes beyond the physical product.”

Originally from New Jersey, Roger settled in the Bay Area in 2000 following a five-year stint living in Australia. Today, as a resident of San Jose (where he lives with his wife, Tiffany, and son, Samuel), Roger says he appreciates the diversity of the local landscape. “I love being in a location that’s close to the mountains, ocean and city. It’s pretty marvelous that you can be waterskiing one afternoon and snow skiing the next. San Jose is also a neat place to be in business because of all the industry and technology.”

Outside of work, Roger engages in a variety of active pastimes, including skiing and boating. “During the winter, I moonlight as a ski instructor at Squaw Valley, which is something I’ve been doing since high school,” he says. “My family and I also like to go boating and waterskiing at the California Delta.” In addition to these outdoor pursuits, Roger likes collecting antique model trains and vintage cars.

In regard to his professional career, Roger espouses the centrality of customer satisfaction. “One of our mottos is, ‘Never leave a customer behind,’” he explains. “To us, customer satisfaction is no joke, and it’s never OK for a customer to be disappointed with our work, regardless of the circumstances. We’ll spend as much time, money and energy as necessary to make sure the client is happy by the project’s end.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Roger says he’d hit the slopes. “In addition to doing more skiing, I would do instructing on a full-time basis. I’d also like to start mentoring young entrepreneurs to help them succeed in their business endeavors.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
A: A cat person.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Almaden Sushi in Almaden.

Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: Action/adventure.

Q: Who’s your favorite actor?
A: Bruce Willis. My favorite film of his is “The Fifth Element.”

Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Pancakes.

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The Benefits of Polymeric Jointing Sand

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SAN JOSE — When installing a paving stone fixture, one option to consider is the application of polymeric jointing sand. Unlike regular jointing sand, this product is instilled with a glue-like substance that goes in dry but is activated by moisture,… Read more

How to Minimize Landscape Water Consumption

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SAN JOSE — Most people don’t realize that the average residential lawn consumes more water than the combined usage of the entire household. That’s why many Californians have decided to remove their thirsty lawns altogether and replace them with more water-wise options.… Read more

The Benefits of Paver Sealing

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SAN JOSE — Whether you have an older paving installation or are putting in a new one, it’s worthwhile to consider the benefits of having it professionally sealed. Since paving stones naturally fade over time, applying a sealer helps preserve their original… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Benefits of Polymeric Sand

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: When installing new pavers, one additional measureworth considering is the application of polymeric sand. Today we’re in San Jose with Diamond Certified… Read more

Dave Graham is a 36-year veteran of the landscaping industry and owner of Atlas Landscapes, a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (415) 742-1953 or by email.

Dave Graham

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dave Graham: Exterior Ingenuity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MILL VALLEY — After 35 years in the landscaping industry, Dave Graham knows a thing or two about growth—both horticultural and professional. “My father was a builder, so my roots are in construction, but I later developed an interest in the landscaping field,” he says. “After studying horticulture and arboriculture, I started a tree service company with my brother. However, I found that tree work didn’t satisfy my creative side, so I transitioned into designing and building landscapes.”

In 1985, Dave left his home country of Ireland and came to the United States, where he obtained his landscape contractor’s license and started his own business. But he wasn’t content to stop there—he went on to earn an arborist certification and a general contractor’s license. “I’ve always loved learning, so it just made sense to keep growing my knowledge base,” he says. “Plus, the more licenses and certifications I earn, the more I’m able to do professionally.”

Today, as owner of Atlas Landscapes, Dave says he continues to find fulfillment in exercising his exterior ingenuity. “I love talking to people about their gardens and outdoor spaces and getting them excited about the possibilities. Plus, the work we do really stands the test of time, so it’s satisfying to know it’s going to be around long after I leave this planet.”

A resident of Mill Valley (where he lives with his son, Sebastian), Dave expresses his appreciation for the lush and diverse Bay Area landscape. “There’s a wide variety of microclimates in the Bay Area, and it took me a few years to become familiar with them all. The types of plants that thrive in each region differ greatly, so it really keeps me on my toes.”

Outside of work, Dave likes staying physically and mentally active. “I do a lot of hiking, yoga and meditation—typical Bay Area stuff,” he laughs. “I also study taekwondo. I find that practicing yoga and martial arts keeps my brain sharp and helps me stay young.” Additionally, Dave likes spending time with his son. “Sebastian and I like going on bike rides, and we go hiking together at least once a week. We’re really lucky to live in an area where there are so many great trails and parks.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Dave says it’s important to have a passion for your livelihood. “When you really enjoy and take pride in what you do, that’s when you do your best work. That’s why I think it’s vital to be passionate about your job and give it 100 percent every time.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Dave says he’ll pursue a few activities that don’t currently fit in his calendar. “I’m a pretty creative person, and I loved to paint when I was younger, so I’d like to get back into that. I’d also like to do some volunteer work in the community, as well as some traveling.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Tea. I drink green tea every day.

Q: What’s your favorite tree?
A: The Purpleleaf Plum tree. It typically flowers around the 15th of February and serves as an indication that winter has passed and summer is on its way. So, that’s something I look for every year.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit by the fire and read a book.

Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: I read a lot of poetry, and one book I’ve been reading my whole life is “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. It’s full of great wisdom, and I think it’s kind of timeless.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect Shona sculptures, which are made of African stone.

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The Benefits of an Outdoor Fireplace

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MILL VALLEY — Fireplaces date back to ancient times, when people would sit around the fire and tell stories. Today, fewer and fewer homes have indoor fireplaces (especially in California, which has strict environmental regulations), but outdoor fireplaces are growing in popularity.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Benefits of an Outdoor Fireplace

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Complete Video Transcription:

MILL VALLEY — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re looking for a way to improve your outdoor living space, it’s worthwhile to consider the addition of a stone fireplace.… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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Know What You Want
Answers to Know before Hiring a Marin County Landscape Contractor

The first step towards creating a professional landscape in your outdoor space is to clearly understand exactly why you are seeking professional help with your yard. You have to know why you want to change the look of your landscape before a professional landscaper can begin the process of transformation.

Being honest with yourself about the state of your budget for any outdoor project will also be very helpful in starting a defined search for a Marin County landscape contractor.

As with any home-improvement project, a budget must be tentative and allow for setbacks or complications, but you must have a number in mind before you begin.

To truly be ready to answer the question of "how much," you will need to clarify what exactly needs to happen with your space, how much of your landscape you are going to tackle and the basic idea of what you want the transformation to look like.

In order to help you create a tentative plan and budget, take a look at the questions below. If you answer them honestly for yourself, you will be well on your way to beginning the real process of hiring a good landscape contractor in Marin County, including from any of the cities of San Rafael, Mill Valley, Larkspur, Tiburon and Fairfax.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified landscaping company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Am I looking for a local landscape contractor to increase the value of my property?
  • Do I have water and/or energy concerns that are prompting my need for a landscape contractor?
  • Am I attempting to create a safe environment for children and/or pets with a new landscape?
  • What outdoor activities does my current landscape allow for? What would I like a professional landscape to support?
  • Do I have any idea what style I am looking for (English garden, new age tranquility, Japanese garden, vegetable garden, outdoor living space, flower gardens, drought resistant gardens, etc.), or do I need professional landscaping help with that step as well?
  • What features am I interested in (water fountains, rock gardens, waterfalls, built-in barbecuing space, etc.) for my yard or garden?
  • What type of landscaping materials do I like best (granite, stone, wood, etc.)?
  • How big of an area (in square feet) am I looking to revamp?
  • What is the current state of my outdoor space (rough dirt and rock, basic grass, terraced, etc.)?
  • How much am I willing and/or able to spend on this landscaping project?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask in Person of Marin County Landscape Contractors

Once you have completed enough phone interviews to feel confident in narrowing down your choices for a suitable Marin County landscape contractor, you are now ready to visit where you live, whether that's in the larger cities of San Rafael, Mill Valley, Larkspur, Tiburon and Fairfax or the smaller areas of Bolinas, Dogtown, Marshall, San Geronimo and Woodacre.

Use the following questions to help you hire the right landscape contractor for you once you have visited some hand-picked firms.

  1. Do you specialize in the sort of landscaping design and/or installation I am looking for?
  2. Can you help me identify plants that work well in our Marin County climate?
  3. How long do you think it will take to complete my proposed project?
  4. Is it your policy to provide a written contract for all new landscaping?
  5. Do you provide landscaping maintenance services?
  6. Are there any discounts for maintaining customers who have you design and/or do the initial installation?
  7. If permits have to be obtained for my proposed project, who is responsible for securing those, are you or am I?
  8. Will I be assigned one designer and/or contractor to work with throughout my project, or does your company float designers and/or contractors?
  9. Can you provide me with ten new addresses and contacts for landscaping installations you have done recently and (if you provide maintenance) five new addresses for landscaping maintenance that you are working on currently?
  10. Can I see certified proof of your contractor's license, liability insurance and workmen's compensation? Do you hold any other professional credentials or belong to any associations?
  11. May I review your landscaping portfolio?
  12. How quickly after we solidify my landscaping plan can I expect a contract?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Marin County Landscape Contractors

    It is difficult to be sure that the Marin County landscape contractor you end up choosing is the best fit for you. But with Diamond Certified on your side, you can have confidence in your choice.

    It's best to choose a Diamond Certified landscape contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a landscape contractor in Marin County, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. All research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can't find a Diamond Certified landscape contractor in your area, especially if you live in the smaller cities of Almonte, Black Point, Ignacio, San Quentin and Terra Linda, you'll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it's wise to call some references provided by your contractor.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the landscaping firm are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process.

    That's because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company's 10 most recent customers with projects similar to yours. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied. Use the following questions to learn all you can from your Marin County landscape contractor references.

    1. Did this landscaping company provide open and timely communication throughout your project?
    2. Did this contractor ensure that he/she left your outdoor space safe for your family and pets during the project's completion?
    3. Did this Marin landscaping contractor clean up the worksite each day?
    4. Did thislandscape contractor keep ahead of delays as much as possible and give good warning if a delay was unavoidable?
    5. Was the project completed within the time frame?
    6. Did this landscape company keep the project within your agreed-upon budget?
    7. Did this landscaping contractor keep current with all building codes and permits?
    8. If this contractor is providing landscaping maintenance, are you happy with their response time and maintenance service?
    9. Were you satisfied with their service? Would you/have you recommended this contractor?
    10. Would you hire this contractor again?
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  • Review Your Options
    Final Questions Before Hiring the Best Landscape Company for Your Job

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Some contractors work on relatively small tasks like mulch delivery and installation, seasonal planting, sprinkler systems, etc. Larger landscaping firms help clients draft a plan for their outdoor space that will have the neighbors heads turning and fingers dialing a landscape professional of their own.

    Whether you live in the larger cities of Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Sausalito, Ross and Belevedere or the smaller cities of Almonte, Black Point, Ignacio, San Quentin and Terra Linda, both types of companies can be found and you have to understand your needs before making a final decision on who to hire.

    Once you've decided on the kind of landscaping project you have on your hands and the type of company you want to hire, you'll need to be aware that landscaping can get expensive. According to commercial data, the average cost to install landscaping for residential properties is $4,000. Your project may fall well under or well over the national average, but there are ways to get good value for whatever monetary amount you decide to spend.

    Of course, your choice of a landscaping contractor is one of the biggest factors in attaining value for the money you spend on your outdoor oasis. So before deciding on the best landscaping contractor in Marin County for you, it's important to consider the following questions.

    1. Have I carefully assessed my needs, measured my property and done appropriate prior research to understand the type of landscaping firm I need to hire?
    2. Do I have an idea of the design I am looking to implement, or do I need help with that initial step?
    3. What is my budget for this project?
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  • How To Work With
    What to Expect When Working with Marin County Landscape Contractors

    Now that you've hired a Marin County landscape contractor, you will want to be prepared for the process of working with them.

    Although each landscape contractor works in their own way, the following steps are a general plan for the progression of working with a local landscape contractor.

    • Initial consultation: This will happen at your outdoor site. The contractor should ask to hear your version of the transformation that will take place, review the property, discuss initial design plans and discuss your options according to your budget and needs. From this interview, a tentative design and contract can be built.
    • Questionnaire or review interview: Synthesis of every wish and option talked about during the first consultation. This can also include an actual questionnaire complete with pictures of other designs to review and give comments on. Your color palette for the project should be finalized at this step.
    • In-depth site analysis: The contractor should take photos, completely measure the space, analyze your soil, look into any building codes or permits needed, note weather patterns and drainage issues as well as slate any existing plant material for relocation or removal.
    • Concept sketching and plan development: Once there is an agreed-upon base plan, your contractor should offer other ideas and options for your space. After these have been discussed, the final design can be approved. Final design needs to include everything from site elements to material specifications, irrigation system determination to plant installation.
    • Ground-breaking: The start date for the project, usually beginning with the removal and rearrangement any existing landscape.
    • Site observation: Your contractor should visit your project periodically to monitor installation and answer any questions or concerns that may have arisen. This is the time to bring up any changes to the design that you are considering.
    • Plant installation: This is one of the final steps to completing your landscaping project and your contractor needs to ensure that you are an integral part of the process. You need to understand the plants that are going to be part of your outdoor life for years to come.
    • Final on-site interview: Your contractor should take a walk-through your project with you upon completion to review any last instructions and to answer any last questions you might have. This is the time to make sure your satisfaction is met in regards to any contractual elements. 

    Remember that your Marin County landscape contractor may work a little differently, but the process should look similar and the main details should still be included, even if they happen at differing times.

    Benefits of Hiring Marin County Landscape Contractors
    You may wonder if it is worth all the trouble to look for and hire a Marin County landscape contractor.

    Do-it-yourself landscaping can seem like an eye-catching way to save money.

    But consider these aspects: do you have the knowledge of what plants work for your yard, your climate, your commitment to outdoor life? Do you understand how to irrigate so that you are not wasting money on plants that won't survive? Do you have the capability to install any high-end features you may be considering such as an outdoor kitchen or waterfall?

    Professional landscapers in Marin County can provide you with all the knowledge, expertise and experience it will take to turn your bland yard into an outdoor oasis. Benefits of working with a trustworthy landscape contractor include:

    • Grow your property value (in some cases, by as much as 15 percent)
    • Enhance your outdoor space with their specialized knowledge of the land and climate
    • Bring focus to your vision for transforming your outdoor space and a design that incorporates energy (and therefore money) saving tips
    • Installation of irrigation, sprinkler, lighting systems, etc. that take special know-how and improve your project to a new level

    Doing your own landscaping projects may seem to save you costs up front, but hiring a knowledgeable Marin County landscape contractor can save you a lot more time, money and headache in the long run.

    Understand What Bonds are for: Working with Your Marin County Landscape Contractor
    Payment and performance bonds are the next best thing to the mandated licensed bonds mandated for Marin County landscape contractors. They help you make sure you get the work you pay for. Although nothing can really ensure that your project will be completed, these bonds give a financial guarantee against mechanics' liens-these can be filed against you if your landscape contractor does not pay subcontractors or suppliers that they use.

    Payment and performance bonds also provide a certain amount of money to finish a project if your contractor will not do it. Remember that this bond should include the total estimated cost, to fully cover any expenses you may be left with. You should know that these bonds can cost one to five percent over the total price, but you have to weigh how much it will gain you in the end if something goes wrong.

    Another reason to look for a Marin County landscape contractor with more experience is because landscapecontractors who are new to the landscaping world may not be able to obtain payment and performance bonds.

    There is one other option to give your project a sense of safety, especially if your contractor is unable to obtain a bond. Joint control companies specialize in construction, both building and landscaping. These companies receive your payment and then distribute it to your contractor and its suppliers, subcontractors, etc.

    A joint control company should take a look at the final project before paying out your money and also provide a warranty against any mechanics' liens. Your Marin County landscape contractor should be able to provide you with names of these types of companies.

    Read moreRead less
  • Be a Good Customer
    Good Customer Behavior When Dealing with Marin County Landscape Contractors

    It's the landscape contractor's responsibility to put in superior landscapes using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the achievements of your landscape contractor, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County landscape contractor.

    • Be clear and upfront with the contractor. Let them know what you want, the long-term outcome you're expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way.
    • Before you hire a landscape contractor in Marin County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the firm's representative your understanding of the agreement. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask the Marin landscaping companies if you should call to check on the progress or if he/she will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they're working on your yard. The work will move along more smoothly if your contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your landscaping company contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the landscaping project on schedule.
    • Pay for the landscaping work promptly.

    Landscape contractors in Marin County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

    Read moreRead less
Check The Work
Payment and Your Marin County Landscape Contractor

You'll want to be cautious about how and when you make payments to your Marin County landscape contractor. If it is your first time working with the company, you want to make sure that the job will get done before you put money into it. Be especially guarded against contractors who ask for any amount before starting your project.

Most Marin County contractors do not require a down payment, although they may request their payment in installments over the duration of the project. If a down payment is expected, remember that the legal limit for home improvement projects is only 10 percent of the total estimated cost of the job or $1,000, whichever comes out to less.

If you have requested a payment and performance bond or are using a joint control company, this down payment cap does not count. You'll need to make sure that any down payment or payment schedule is written in your contract and always make payments by money order or check, never cash.

Finally, do not pay your last installment until the project meets your expectations and the specifications outlined in your contract. Even small things, such as cleaning up trash in your yard should be the responsibility of your contractor, and to protect yourself, it is always best to withhold final payments until you are completely satisfied.

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Written Warranties
Requesting Written Contracts from Marin County Landscape Contractors

California law states that home improvement projects over $500 must be agreed-upon in writing. It is still in your best interest, even if your landscaping project is under that amount, that you request a written contract.

A contract should always include the following:

  • Name, address, contractor's state license number and telephone number of the landscape contractor you're hiring
  • Registration number of any employee involved on the project
  • A detailed description of the work to be completed and materials list (including quantity and type of plants and irrigation equipment) and any warrantees or guarantees (including verbal contracts) on this work and equipment
  • Approximate start and end date
  • A statement holding the contractor to clean up and removal of all job-related detritus after the completion of the project
  • A statement explaining any building permits needed or codes to be followed during the landscaping services, and the ways to protect yourself and your property
  • A statement that the landscaping contractor will uphold his/her bond, if one exists

After signing the contract, changes that you and/or the contractor make in the work or materials to be use must be added in writing. The change order must also include any increases or reductions in the total job price.

If you have carefully planned the job and selected a licensed Marin County landscape contractor, including those in the smaller cities of Almonte, Black Point, Ignacio, San Quentin and Terra Linda, the job should progress without any major problems.

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Top 10 Requests
Landscaping Services Provided By Landscape Contractors in Marin County

Landscaping ideas can be as varied as the number of people who own homes and want to beautify their outdoor spaces. It is difficult to narrow down what clients of Marin County landscape contractors generally want when they hire a landscaping firm to help with their outdoor transformation.

The following \\elements of landscaping design are some of the most commonly requested features for outdoor installation. Talk with your Marin County landscape contractor, including those in Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Sausalito, Ross and Belevedere, to see what they are willing and/or able to accomplish in your outdoor space.

Flower and/or plant garden
Most commonly thought of as landscaping, flowers and plants are just one of the many ways landscape contractors improve the beauty and value of your home. Their expertise can help you choose the right flowers and plants to flourish in your yard.

Outdoor lighting
Not often associated with the landscape, outdoor lighting is actually an integral part of providing beauty and safety to your outdoor space. Landscape contractors will either be trained to do this part themselves or hire a subcontractor who specializes in lighting to accomplish your design.

Brick paver walkways
Similar to a stone walkway, the brick paver walkway enables you to direct outdoor traffic in your landscaped space and keep trampling to a minimum. Brick pavers are much more uniform and suited to a design that incorporates more rigid lines between naturally occurring landscapes and man-made features.

Stone walkways
The more natural choice for walkways in your outdoor space, stone can enhance the look of your yard without adding a lot of man-made material. Stone walkways also help showcase any spaces that have been landscaped without a lot of traffic to ruin planted areas.

Patios
Your Marin County landscape contractor can help you decide on the material best suited to your outdoor space for installing a patio. Adding a patio can enhance not only the beauty of your yard, but also the usability.

Fountains
Water features are a fantastic way to bring interest and depth to your landscape. Fountains help contain the water to a smaller, more manageable space and you can work with your Marin County landscape contractor to find one that fits your style and budget.

Koi ponds
Fish add an instant sense of true nature to your outdoor space not accomplished by any other feature. Koi ponds are popular for those homeowners who are willing to keep up the effort it takes to maintain them. Discuss maintenance with your Marin County landscape contractor, as it can be extensive.

Natural streams and waterfalls
Another water feature with a little more natural credibility than a fountain, the stream and/or waterfall can immediately transform an outdoor space into a magical oasis. This feature also changes the types of plants that can be introduced into your yard, as it adds natural irrigation and watering capabilities.

Terracing
Helpful with erosion control and drainage issues, terracing can be a lovely way to address difficulties with your outdoor space. Your Marin County landscape contractor can provide many options for accomplishing this look while incorporating your other design wants and needs.

Outdoor kitchens and fire pits
Like adding another room to your house, the outdoor kitchen and fire pit truly adds measureable value to your property. While this can be a costly element to landscaping, your contractor can work with you to find an outdoor kitchen and/or fire pit that scales to meet your needs.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary Terms and Definitions for Marin County Landscaping Company Customers

The following list of terms and definitions should help you navigate your way when hiring and working with your Marin County landscape contractor.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
A professional society that represents landscape architects betters their practice and understanding through education, research, state registration, etc.

base plan
A plan showing site boundaries and features, used as a basis for further development.

building codes
Regulations that specify the type of methods and materials allowed on a project.

building permit
An authorization dispensed by a government agency which permits construction of a project according to agreed-upon specifications.

built environment
A man-made creation or alterations to an outdoor space, including its natural resources.

Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)
A digital design program that produces precise plans for landscaping projects.

contour
The form of the land. Contour lines are map lines which are used to show and measure slope and drainage.

conservation plan
A plan for protecting natural or manufactured resources. Used as a tool in making decisions regarding soil, water, vegetation, manufactured objects and other resources.

design
The creative illustration, planning and specification of outdoor space for utility, value and beauty.

drainage
Where water escapes from a land surface or subsurface, through sewers or natural means.

easement
The legal grant to use an area of designated property.

grade
How the land slopes. Grading is the process of changing the degree of the slope in order to promote drainage and landscape design.

hardscape
Things that are added to a landscape, such as paving stones, gravel, walkways, irrigation systems, roads, retaining walls, sculpture, street amenities, fountains, etc.

International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)
A multinational organization of landscapers whose purpose is the advancement of landscape design.

landscape
The amount of land that can be seen at a glance.

landscape architect
A professional who designs outdoor spaces from whole ecosystems to residential sites

Also known as: designer, planner, consultant

landscape architecture
The science and art of design of the land involving natural and built elements and concern for resource conservation to improve outdoor spaces. Effective landscape architecture makes the most of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all while minimizing negative effects to nature.

landscape contractor
A trained installer of landscapes who implements the plans of landscape architects.

manipulation of space
The organization of land for aesthetic or functional design. Refers to the building of small backyard patios to huge urban plazas.

master plan
An initial plan showing proposed development. Master plans show phases of work needing to be completed and are therefore subject to changes over time.

natural resources
Elements naturally occurring in an area that can be used to fulfill human needs, including air, soil, water, native vegetation, etc.

site plan
A drawing including dimensions that indicates the form and physical objects existing in an outdoor space and those still to be built.

softscape
The naturally occurring elements landscape architects work with, such as plant materials.

zoning
Legal land-use control and building regulations usually implemented by a municipality, involving the designation of land areas for specific purposes.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Marin County Landscaping Company FAQ

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified landscape contractor in Marin County?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a landscape contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country's most in-depth rating process. Only landscape contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most landscaping companies in Marin County can't pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you'll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified landscape contractor.

Q: How do landscape contractors in Marin County charge for landscaping services?
A: Local landscape contractors can charge based on time it takes to complete a project, an agreed-upon project fee, a percentage of the cost of the total work done or by the square foot area of the project. You should be clear on how a contractor charges before you enter into a professional relationship with them, ask for a detailed estimate and always work under a specified contract.

Q: What services can a landscape contractor provide?
A: A good landscape contractor will be able to hear your vision and provide insight on what can work with your space. They will start by crafting a plan that fits your specific needs and vision. Your contractor will manage the people, materials and equipment needed to produce the transformation to your outdoor space. They are also in charge of any building permits and your safety during the project's completion. A really good landscape contractor will give you a final product that maintains itself as much as possible and performs as good as it looks.

Q: When should we hire a landscape contractor?
A: There is not a point too soon at which you should look for a licensed contractor. As soon as you are dedicated to landscaping your space, which means you need to know what you don't like about your current yard and what you would want installed to make it more enjoyable, then you are ready to begin your search. Hiring a licensed contractor early in the process can help you keep from making costly mistakes and heightens the chances that you will be pleased with the final outcome.

Q: How can I make sure I am hiring the best possible landscape contractor?
A: Seeking out a Diamond Certified landscape contractor is always the best place to begin. Beyond that you should ask around to see if any family, friends, neighbors or co-workers have hired contractors that they would recommend. It is essential to hire a contractor who is familiar with the type of project you are looking to complete. Pay attention to the services and experience of every company you interview.

Q: What is the best indicator that I have hired the right landscape contractor?
A: Research indicates that the number one way people can tell they will be satisfied with the final results of their landscaping project is whether or not they were able to communicate effectively with the landscape contractor from the beginning of their professional relationship. Your contractor should make you feel comfortable to bring up any questions or concerns that arise along the way. In addition, you should be confident that your landscape contractor understands from the outset what you believe your transformation should look like. Ask many clarifying questions as you work on a plan together to make sure that you are on the same wavelength as your contractor.

Q: Why should I look for a licensed landscape contractor in Marin County?
A: Licensed contractors are bonded against negligent work and any breaches of contract. In addition, licensed contractors in the state of California are required to serve in the field for at least four years before applying for a license. Hiring a licensed contractor ensures that the company working on your outdoor space has professional experience and has passed an exam that tests their knowledge of the field extensively.

Q: What is my role in the process of landscaping my space?
A: You will need to clearly share your design wants, decide on a workable budget and provide insight into how the design will affect the livability and enjoyment of your space. A trustworthy contractor will continue to communicate with you throughout the process and be available to lend advice and design suggestions. You need to feel like a partner in the process and informed along the way.

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